Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 4:01 am | Mostly Cloudy 51º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Dealing with an Eating Disorder, Flirting Advice, Long-Distance Relationships

Question from Sierra G.

Weezy, I have a problem. I’m 15 and I don’t want to eat. I am not even hungry anymore. I just want to be thin, and I panic if I gain weight or if my pants feel tight. So, for me, the best solution is just not eating at all, but I don’t want my parents to notice so I eat a little and then I feel horrible about it.

Weezy

You are describing the symptoms of an eating disorder.

Among the toughest lessons we must teach ourselves are those of moderation and personal discipline. When it comes to food, this means learning how to eat healthy foods that provide us with the fuel we need to be well and happy.

Paring it down to the basics: Eat when you are hungry. Stop when you are full. Drink plenty of water. Get lots of good exercise.

Doing all of this requires a certain amount of self control, and we live in a world full of sweets, treats and junk food. But simply deciding not to eat is the opposite of moderation. It’s deciding not to decide. It’s a cop-out and it can be deadly.

Remember that as your body is growing, you have no right to deprive it of essential nutrients. Every moment of every day, your cells are working hard to create strong bones, tissues, organs and brain circuitry that will serve you throughout your life.

Obsessing about a flatter tummy or a thigh gap is robbing the Future You of a healthy body and mind. Imagine holding a baby in your arms and deciding not to feed her. I know you wouldn’t be able to do that.

Neither do you get to starve your own body. You have left your mother’s arms and so your ongoing care and feeding are increasingly your own responsibility, so you must nurture yourself the way you would any child.

You have been given this life. You must take care of it. You cannot do this alone. Reach out for help.

Click here for more information from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders.

(Ask Kimberly video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Anna

So my friend has liked a guy from school since probably October. About a month ago, he started talking to me a lot, and flirting and stuff. I then asked my friend if she still liked him and she said yes. I told her that he was flirting with me and she said that’s she wasn’t mad at me or anything.

This guy has been talking with me on Snapchat almost every day, and I think I’m starting to get feelings for him and I’m pretty sure he likes me. I haven’t told my friend I think I have feelings for him because I’m afraid what she’ll say.

What should I do? I’m starting to like him a lot even though I tried not to, but it’s hard because he’s a great guy. But I also don’t want to be a bad friend.

Weezy

I’m glad you told your friend that this guy has been flirting with you. This gives her a chance to first absorb the trauma that he is interested in you. Now you can tell her the next part of the story. You are starting to develop feelings for him. Ask her if that is OK? Gauge her reaction. From there you will be able to make your next decision.

We base our choices on the information we are able to obtain. Gather as much information as you can. Assess it. Determine what matters most to you. Understand what you could stand to lose as a result of your decision. Be clear and kind with everyone who is involved and then move forward.

If you look into your friend’s eyes and see that you could be sacrificing this friendship to date this boy, and you are not willing to do that, then don’t date the boy right now. If this kid is the love of your life and you are worried that you could lose him forever and you are willing to forgo this friendship for the sake of dating this boy, then date him with that understanding.

Where we often go wrong is expecting that we should be able to have both, and then being angry at everyone for not carving out our access to both. You don’t get to decide how other people will react to your decisions. You just have to accept that they will react.

I know that you are a thoughtful and sensitive person because you took the time to write this note. It’s possible that your friend will understand that this guy likes you and that you like him, and therefore she should look elsewhere for love. That would be ideal. It may not happen just yet.

So go in with an open mind and heart. Tell her your truth. Listen to her response and then make your best decision.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Kimberly

Before I moved, I had a huge crush on this guy for almost three years. We’ve lived in different states for two years and I like someone else now. The boy from where I used to live is an actor, and every couple months we fly back to see the show my old theater company is doing, and we say hi and take a picture in his costume.

I’m over him, but this last time we went back, we saw him as Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie (if you know what that is, you’ll understand) and I can’t help but think about him now. He had a leather jacket and slicked back hair and the most amazing voice, and I don’t know why but I can’t get him out of my head.

What should I do? We live in different states and I thought I was over him. He obviously doesn’t like me.

Weezy

Well, he was Conrad Birdie and you are only human. If I’m being honestly sincere, you really don’t know what this guy is thinking or feeling. Don’t just assume that he doesn’t like you. He is involved in his life. You are involved in yours. It sounds as though your parents have remained friends so you will continue to be in touch.

If your crush is kicking back in, then why don’t you step up your personal communications with him? You took photos together. Post one on social media and mention how great he was in the show. “The whole town was swooning.” You’ve seen the show. They were. Tag him.

You can also write or text or Snapchat one on one and add to the conversation. For example, “I downloaded the soundtrack and now it’s all stuck in my head. Thanks. : )” “I memorized the telephone song.” “What’s the word, Hummingbird? This is Harvey Johnson. Is Charity home from school yet?” That type of thing.

Just reach out from time to time. You both love theater. Be friendly.

We don’t really know what the future holds, and I am not a fan of long-distance relationships, but by going to all of his shows, you are creating some wonderful memories together. There is no reason why you shouldn’t grow closer as you continue to grow up, and then learn for yourselves whether there may be something romantic between you two one day.

(KyGuy386 video)

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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She also hosts a weekly video podcast called Things I Found Online, and teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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